tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC June 7, 2014 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
this is "world news." tonight, critical condition, comedy star tracy morgan seriously injured in a deadly highway accident that may have been caused by a dozing truck driver. the accident coming just hours after a performance that earned him a standing ovation. armed to kill. the shoot-out on the courthouse steps, a gunman prepares for deadly takeover, stopped by deputies saving countless lives. the abc news exclusive. diane sawyer with tough questions for hillary clinton, concerns about the fall, her concussion, and the after math. >> so no lingering affects? >> tonight, what she told diane. the great escape, the 89-year-old veteran so determined to get to normandy, for the d-day anniversary, he slipped out of his nursing home
to new adventures he had on the way. good evening. david is off tonight. i'm byron pitts. thank you for joining us on this saturday night. we begin with comedian tracy morgan in critical condition tonight at a new jersey hospital. he was injured in a multi-vehicle accident on a new jersey turnpike. this is what is left of the mangled limousine morgan and five others were riding in. millions of americans know him from his years on 30 rock, playing a larger than life version of himself, a part tina fey wrote especially for him. morgan was on his way back to new york from a performance in delaware when the accident happened. he's in intensive care at this hour and abc's gio benitez reports from the hospital tonight. >> reporter: the middle of the night crash sent shockwaves through the entertainment world. >> i'm scared, but i'm also excited! >> reporter: 45-year-old comedian tracy morgan, best known for that starring role on 30 rock, now in critical condition with head injuries.
he and six others riding in a mercedes sprinter limo bus that ended up in a six-car pileup, killing one of morgan's friends, comedy writer james mcnair. tonight abc news learning a truck may have caused the accident and rear-ended morgan's limo. police sources say the truck driver may have dosed off and failed to see the slow-moving traffic ahead. the truck swerved to avoid the limo bus but ended up slamming into it. morgan's limo then lost control, spinning into two other vehicles before landing onto its left side. the truck driver identified as kevin roper from georgia. he's charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. if it is a case of fatigued driving, the toll on the nation's highways has been steep. more than 750 die and 20,000 injured each year at the hand of fatigued commercial truck drivers. in this instagram posted by one
of the other injured passengers, we see the inside of that limo just minutes before the accident. he had been with morgan for a stand-up comedy routine that had earned morgan a standing ovation. the caption in the photo tragically reading, the road life is a good life. >> i know what those are but what is research? >> reporter: morgan has enjoyed a long career in comedy. for years he was a part of the cast of "saturday night live," and his return to stand-up comedy featured in this interview with barbara walters just last year. >> when i'm on stage i like to let people know where i come from. >> reporter: and here at the hospital morgan's rep says doctors do not expect any change in his condition tonight but that his family is here and he is receiving, quote, excellent care. byron? >> gio benitez, thank you. now to the severe weather moving across the country tonight. 20 million people in its path. since yesterday nearly two dozen reported and confirmed tornados striking seven states, including
this twisting about 40 miles east of denver, threatening this lone house on the prairie, while this little rock, arkansas winds of up to 60 miles per hour shredded a roof. i want to bring in our meteorologist. how long is this severe weather supposed to last? >> for the next few days. there's no relief for them. it's been five are consecutive days. our friends in the great plains all the way to the southeast has had to deal with severe weather. tonight the same. we're expecting severe weather from denver into nashville, large hail, strong winds, tornados. unfortunately, again tomorrow, a very similar situation. it slowly shifts towards the east but overall, still the same conditions for our friends across most of the middle section of the united states to the southeast. >> middle of the country heavy rain but out west a different story. >> completely different story, hot and dry. we're talking triple digits into sunday. las vegas forecasting a high of 104 degrees. there is an excessive heat warning in effect for them. sacramento 102, 106 in phoenix.
>> thank you. and now to georgia where the streets outside a county courthouse were quiet after a bloody shoot-out on its steps. tonight we're learning more about the gunman and his arsenal of weapons and the hero who kept him from using them. abc's steve osunsami is there. >> reporter: today the lone sheriff's deputy who confronted a gunman who tried to drive into the front of this georgia courthouse is facing additional surgery but already saying he's ready to go back to work. just before lunch this was the sound of the gun fight outside the for sight county courthouse north of atlanta recorded on a cell phone by an eye witness. police say dennis marks was behind the wheel of this silver suv carrying an assault rifle, tear gas, pepper spray, two handguns, a bomb, and flex ties that he planned to use to restrain people. authorities say this orange smoke is from the smoke grenades he hoped would stop police.
>> he came here for the purpose of occupying the courthouse it appears. >> reporter: deputy daniel russ was working security outside the busy courthouse and was shot in the leg, but he shot back. police say he kept this gunman from carrying out his plans. a small army of police ran to the scene, firing at the suv where marks was killed. >> they shot windows out of the car and the guy fell out on the ground. >> reporter: police here say they've dealt with marks before, saying he's a known problem. they continued to investigate his home. there they found more explosive devices. marks was due in court friday after an arrest for an alleged marijuana possession with intent to distribute. >> we know him. he was known to us before. quite a few things are under investigation right now. >> reporter: marks was part of an underground movement that believe its members don't have to follow the law. the government calls them domestic terrorists. they publicly reject violence but members have had shootouts with police before. the family of the injured deputy has received death threats online from anti-government
supporters. steve osunsami, abc news, cumming, georgia. overseas tonight a massive rescue in the mediterranean with u.s. navy ships on the scene. americans responded to a distress call involving six small vessels, one of them sinking. 282 my grants on those boats were transferred where they were fed and given medical care. five people were flown to a hospital in mall ta and the rest taken to italy. next to diane sawyer's exclusive interview with former secretary of state hillary clinton making headlines tonight. diane asking about medical issues after republican strategist karl rove suggested she may have suffered traumatic brain damage after a fall in 2012. >> how is your health? >> very good, thank you. >> how serious was it? >> it was -- it was a serious concussion. >> the clot in addition, the clot had dislodged. >> can i tell you, that was a scary point. >> you had trouble with vision?
>> i had -- because of the force of the fall, i had double vision for a short period of time, and i had some dizziness. >> did you have trouble talking? >> no none of -- i had no problems. the only thing i had -- >> headaches? >> no. i didn't have any of that. i felt fine, and i felt it was kind of silly that i was supposed to stay in bed. i ran into congressman paul ryan at the inauguration last year, and i had read he was this great athlete. i said, congressman, did you ever have a concussion, and he said yes, several, i had three, the last one was serious but my mother was smart enough to make me stay in. what happens to athletes, soldiers, young people in car accidents, all the reasons why people get concussions, they shake it off. i felt like, you know, i can get back up. i can go to work. the doctor said no, you're going to rest so you'll have a complete recovery. fast forward, i go home for
christmas, go to new york for christmas, and i want to go back to work. so my doctors say, okay, let's just do an mri to make sure that everything is healing as we think it is. so here's what they say. they say, the good news is the concussion is totally resolving. like we told you, it's going to be fine. the bad news is you developed a clot behind your right ear and you must immediately go to the hospital to be put on blood thinners. >> you had a clot before in your leg. >> i have. >> are they related? >> yes. >> blood thinners for life? >> probably but i don't mind. i don't have want to go through that again. >> no lingering affects of any kind? >> no. >> so so you would release your medical records if you ran for president? >> i would do what other candidates have done, absolutely. >> what would you like to say to karl rove about your brain? >> that i know he was called bush's brains in one of the books written about him, and i wish him well.
>> we'll have more from the interview on "this week" with george stephanopoulos in the morning. you can catch the entire interview, diane sawyer with hillary clinton, monday night 9:00 p.m. eastern. nothing off the table. her marriage, her plan for 2016, and when will we all know whether she's going to run, a look inside clinton's life we have not seen before. on the eve of her new book, hard choices, that prime time special monday night. now, she was the original phenomenal woman. today her friends, the famous and her family gathered to remember author and poet maya angelou. during the service today in north carolina former president bill clinton described her this way, god loaned her his voice. here's abc's susan saulny. >> reporter: they called it a celebration of rising joy, both tearful -- >> the loss i feel, i cannot
describe. she was the ultimate teacher. >> reporter: and triumphant -- >> she touched people all across the globe, including a young white woman from kansas who named her daughter after maya and raised her son to be the first black president of the united states. >> reporter: friends and family, former president bill clinton, the act tes cecily tyson, all thankful for angela's listens. >> her great gift in her action-packed life was she was always paying attention. >> reporter: in angelou's last interview with abc news, i asked her what she would say to her younger self. >> dare, dare to be more than you think you can be. dare. >> reporter: and dare, she did. susan saulny, abc news, washington. now on the shores of normandy france tonight, the
crowds are gone after the ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of d-day, including someone who let nothing get in the way of his being there. abc's alex marquardt has the story. >> reporter: it's being called the great escape. 89-year-old bernard jordan, a british world war ii veteran, had been told there was no more space on an official trip to the d-day celebration, so he decided to go alone. wearing a new blazer with all his medals, he slipped out unannounced from his nursing home. first a bus, then a ferry, where he met this group of singers before making it to the shores of normandy. when that night the nursing home couldn't find the former royal navy officer, they called the police. >> that's the type of chap he is. i think that generation, you know, when they set their mind to something, they don't let anything get in the way. >> reporter: jordan had linked up with a group of fellow british veterans and called to say he was safe. today jordan returned to loud cheers, happy to be home.
>> this is a smashing country. i'm proud to have served it. >> reporter: when jordan got back today, the nursing home says he had a hardy english breakfast. after an emotional trip, jordan says he hopes to go back again next year. byron? >> alex, thank you. we have much more "world news" on this saturday night. up next, one of the nation's toughest police arson squads is now under fire. >> can we talk to you about the phone investigation? >> many are asking, are investigators excusing the innocent. and later in the broadcast, what in the world is gone on here? the story behind operation rhino lift coming up in your "instant index." i'm randy and i quit smoking with chantix. for 33 years i chose to keep smoking... ...because it was easier to smoke than it was to quit. along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. it's a non-nicotine pill. chantix reduced the urge for me to smoke. it actually caught me by surprise. some people had changes in behavior,
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country, the city's elite arson squad is finding itself under fire. an abc news "nightline" investigation is looking into how the team racked up its impressive arrest record. >> reporter: this is captain sam richardson. >> two fires today already. >> reporter: and captain fred anderson. >> it's a wrap. >> reporter: they're investigators with phoenix's elite arson squad. >> they threw something in here. >> reporter: critics asking did that success come at the expense of innocent victims. >> i was being framed for a crime that i didn't commit. >> reporter: barbara sloan and a former sheriff's deputy claim they were falsely accused of arson. >> you were in jail for 16 months? >> it ruined my life. >> reporter: the findings of an arson investigator was hired by the defense. >> i think there are other cases, other innocent victims out there. >> reporter: nearly five years ago abc news was given access to this elite unit, an inside look
at what made them the best in the nation. >> sadie is an accelerant detection canine. she's a food reward dog. >> reporter: the unit is run by a charismatic and confident former police detective, jack valentine, who by his own admission had no prior background in fire investigations. under his leadership, the unit's clearance rate skyrocketed from solving 22% of the cases in 2007 to 65% in 2010, the highest in the country. back then the team was proud to boast about their success. not now. >> can we talk to you about the investigation? i take it the answer is no. >> reporter: back when they were talking to us, the captain made an interesting statement about their investigative techniques. >> we used to think that we had to have concrete evidence and often we do. but now we've gotten smart enough where we can put a case
together with circumstantial evidence and make it stick. we've done it time and time again. >> 911, where is your emergency? >> there's a fire. >> reporter: in these two cases, charges were eventually dropped. barbara sloan believed she was falsely accused to boost the unit's arrest numbers. >> i believe he was pushing for the arson clearance rate to be the best in the nation. >> the case is under review by the phoenix public safety office. results are due back in the coming weeks. still ahead on "world news," the huge surprise for that seattle college student who may have saved countless lives by bravely taking down a gunman. how perfect strangers are saying thank you to him and his bride to be. she keeps you on your toes. you wouldn't have it any other way. but your erectile dysfunction - it could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved
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time now for "instant index" starting with a fitting tribute for a national hero. 26-year-old john meis bravely stopped thursday's seattle college campus shooting, pepper spraying and tackling the gunman. it turns out he's set to marry his fiance in two weeks. strangers tracked down their wedding registry, buying everything on their wish list. dramatic pictures out of south africa. rhinos suspended thousands of feet above the ground, air lifted by helicopter. it's all part of an effort to relocate the endangered animals to a reserve to protect them from poachers. when we come back, a big day for america's favorite athlete. will california chrome gallop into the history books as the first triple crown winner in 36 years?
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finally tonight, he's become america's favorite athlete, california chrome, running for the triple crown. win or lose, the thoroughbred will finish in the money, capping off a classic american story about two owners who put everything on the line for their american dream. here's lindsay czarniak of her sister network, espn. >> go california chrome, yeah! >> reporter: all the excitement, all the fan fare for this horse, the colt no one expected would win the kentucky derby. the preakness. only to be suddenly catapulted to the most celebrated underdog in america. his owners, first-time breeders who dropped just $8,000 on an average filly that gave birth to an unlikely king. >> when him and i bought the
filly, somebody at the barn said, man, you guys are real dumb asses if you buy this filly and race her. >> reporter: their company became dumb-ass partners and now that one questionable investment is worth millions. normally the belmont stakes draw 50,000 people. when there's a triple crown on the line, that means more than 100,000 here. that includes california chrome's personal cheering section, chromies. >> he comes from california bread. he's not rich in history. >> underdog story, great horse. >> reporter: maybe that's why for just one brief heart pounding run, california cleem chased the dream of a lifetime, it was so easy to dream along with him. lindsay czarniak for abc news, elmont, new york. >> e the race is under way right now. "gma" first thing in the morning followed by "this week" with george. thanks so much for watching. have a good evening.
the following program has been prerecorded. >> the inspiring christ the redeemer statue. for over 80 years standing watch over brazil's most well-known city. welcome to rio. 6.3 million, the population. the nation's beauty and also its passion for the beautiful game, legendary and displayed on its beaches this and every weekend. it will be just over 200 miles from here in brazil's biggest city, sao paulo where the world cup kicks off thursday with the home side. and it ends a month later, back here in rio. where the 20th world champion will be crowned. time to get you set for the biggest sporting event on the planet, the world cup.